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Bail reduced for driver in deadly Old Town crash

Bail has been reduced to $50,000 for Brent Warstler of Cornelius, the man accused of killing a Gresham woman in a wreck in Portland's Old Town on Jan. 20.

The decision came Monday morning after roughly 30 minutes in testimony at a hearing, during which Warstler's bail was dropped from $297,000 to $50,000.

During the hearing, Deputy District Attorney Susan Howard argued to have Warstler held in jail until his trial, which is scheduled to begin March 13.

Howard said Warstler was traveling twice the speed limit in the 20 mph zone. And police suspect Warstler of being intoxicated when he ran a red light and crashed into a taxi before veering onto a sidewalk where he collided with Rebbeca Bray, 20, and severely injured Brandi Butner, 21.

Bray died at the scene, and Butner will face prolonged physical therapy to overcome her injuries.

The crash was at the intersection of Northwest Fifth Avenue and Northwest Everett Street.

Butner's father, Bruce, testified at the hearing, saying his daughter will undergo three to four months of physical therapy.

"What (Warstler) did is inexcusable," Butner said.

Warstler had a blood-alcohol level of .20 one hour after the crash, Howard said.

Before Monday's hearing, Warstler’s bail had been set at more than $297,000.

Christian Day, the defense attorney appointed to the case, said his client has expressed remorse. He said Warstler should be allowed to post bail because he does not pose a flight risk.

Day said Warstler has about $5,000 in savings.

Judge Alicia A. Fuchs said her decision could not be based on emotions, but only on legal rights.

She ordered his bail be set at $50,000. Warstler will be required to wear an ankle bracelet that detects even the smallest trace of alcohol.

If he is able to post bail, Warstler must report to a supervisor at the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office pretrial release program.

It is expected that he will live with family in Gresham if and when he is released.

Following the hearing Butner told members of the media that he was angry with the judge’s decision.

"I'm not happy with this verdict," he said.




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